The ability to inhibit action tendencies is vital for adaptive human behaviour. Various paradigms are supposed to assess action inhibition and are often used interchangeably. However, these paradigms are based on different conceptualizations (action restraint vs. action cancellation) and the question arises as to what extent different conceptualizations of inhibitory processing are mirrored in a distinct neural activation pattern. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural correlates of action restraint vs. action cancellation. Analyses of local activity changes as well as network connectivity measures revealed a strong overlap of activation within a common action inhibition network including inferior frontal, pre-supplementary motor and thalamic brain areas as well as the anterior cingulate cortex. Furthermore, our findings pointed to additional neural networks that are distinct for action restraint (i.e. right superior frontal gyrus, left middle frontal gyrus, and bilateral anterior cingulate cortex) and action cancellation (i.e. right middle frontal gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex, and parietal regions). Our connectivity analyses showed that different inhibitory modalities largely relied on a task-independent global inhibition network within the brain. Furthermore, they suggested that the conceptually distinct inhibitory aspects of action restraint vs. action cancellation also activated additional specific brain regions in a task-dependent manner. This has implications for the choice of tasks in an empirical setting, but is also relevant for various clinical contexts in which inhibition deficits are considered a diagnostic feature.
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- ANTERIOR INSULA, ATTENTION, COGNITIVE CONTROL, FMRI, GO/NO-GO TASKS, GRANGER CAUSALITY, INFERIOR FRONTAL-CORTEX, STOP-SIGNAL INHIBITION, TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION, WORKING-MEMORY, functional magnetic resonance imaging, go/no-go, human, inferior frontal cortex, response inhibition, stop signal